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Asiana Airlines considers legal action against TV station, NTSB

By Ben Brumfield and Khushbu Shah, CNN
updated 9:33 PM EDT, Sun July 14, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NTSB summer intern mistakenly confirms offensive names
  • Asiana: Reputation of pilots and company seriously damaged
  • Both KTVU and the NTSB have apologized
  • NEW: NTSB says it is focused only on determining the cause of the crash

(CNN) -- Asiana Airlines is considering legal action against an Oakland television station and the National Transportation Safety Board after an intern at the agency mistakenly confirmed "inaccurate and offensive" names as those of the pilots of ill-fated Flight 214.

The bogus names that phonetically spelled out phrases such as "Something Wrong" and "We Too Low" were read during KTVU's noon broadcast on Friday.

In this handout photo released by the National Transportation Safety Board, Asiana Airlines Flight 214 sits just off the runway at San Francisco International Airport on Sunday, July 7. The Boeing 777 coming from Seoul, South Korea, crashed on landing on Saturday, July 6. Three passengers, all girls, died as a result of the first notable U.S. air crash in four years. In this handout photo released by the National Transportation Safety Board, Asiana Airlines Flight 214 sits just off the runway at San Francisco International Airport on Sunday, July 7. The Boeing 777 coming from Seoul, South Korea, crashed on landing on Saturday, July 6. Three passengers, all girls, died as a result of the first notable U.S. air crash in four years.
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"Regarding the KTVU-TV's demeaning report of the pilots on July 12, Asiana Airlines is reviewing possible legal action against KTVU-TV and the NTSB," the airline said in a statement.

It noted the reputation of the pilots and the company had been "seriously damaged" by the report.

The safety board, which is investigating last week's runway crash in San Francisco that killed three people and injured more than 180 others, did not address Asiana's potential legal concerns directly.

"The NTSB remains focused on the important investigative work being done to determine what caused Asiana Airlines Flight 214 to crash so that we can make safety recommendations to prevent it from happening again," spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said in a statement late on Sunday.

Both KTVU and the NTSB previously apologized for the embarrassment.

"Nothing is more important to us than having the highest level of accuracy and integrity, and we are reviewing our procedures to ensure this type of error does not happen again," KTVU posted on its website.

Nantel said previously the names were presented by the station to the intern for confirmation. It was not immediately clear who produced the fake names, but the NTSB said it was not the intern, who was not identified.

Asiana identified the pilot at the controls of the Boeing 777 that undershot its approach and clipped a sea wall before crash-landing on the runway as Lee Kang-Kuk. There were two other pilots in the cockpit at the time of the accident.

Did Asiana pilot have enough 777 experience?

CNN's Todd Sperry contributed to this report.

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